• Muse: A Novel

    by Jonathan Galassi
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    Muse: A Novel
June 26, 2015

Jonathan Galassi

Harvard Book Store and GrubStreet welcome Farrar, Straus, and Giroux president and publisher JONATHAN GALASSI  and Beacon Press president HELENE ATWAN for a discussion of Galassi's debut novel Muse, a story about the decades-long rivalry between two publishing lions, and the iconic, alluring writer who has obsessed them both.

Details

Paul Dukach is heir apparent at Purcell & Stern, one of the last independent publishing houses in New York, whose shabby offices on Union Square belie the treasures on its list. Working with his boss, the flamboyant Homer Stern, Paul learns the ins and outs of the book trade—how to work an agent over lunch; how to swim with the literary sharks at the Frankfurt Book Fair; and, most important, how to nurse the fragile egos of the dazzling, volatile authors he adores. 

But Paul’s deepest admiration has always been reserved for one writer: poet Ida Perkins, whose audacious verse and notorious private life have shaped America’s contemporary literary landscape, and whose longtime publisher—also her cousin and erstwhile lover—happens to be Homer’s biggest rival. And when Paul at last has the chance to meet Ida at her Venetian palazzo, she entrusts him with her greatest secret—one that will change all of their lives forever. 

Studded with juicy details only a quintessential insider could know, written with both satiric verve and openhearted nostalgia, Muse is a brilliant, haunting book about the beguiling interplay between life and art, and the eternal romance of literature.

About Author(s)

Jonathan Galassi is a lifelong veteran of the publishing world and the author of three collections of poetry, as well as translations of the Italian poets Eugenio Montale and Giacomo Leopardi. A former Guggenheim Fellow and poetry editor of The Paris Review, he also writes for The New York Review of Books and other publications. He lives in New York City.

Helene Atwan has been director of Beacon Press since October 1995. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia. She began her career in publishing at Random House, and has worked at Alfred A. Knopf, The Viking Press; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; and Simon and Schuster. Her acquisitions at Beacon include Gayl Jones’s The Healing, a National Book Award Finalist, Wendy Kaminer’s Worst Instincts, four books by acclaimed medical writer Danielle Ofri and four by celebrated historian Rashid Khalidi; memoirs such as Meredith Hall’s Without A Map, as well as books by Lani Guinier, Anita Hill, and Cornel West.  She edited ten volumes of poetry by Pulitzer-prize winner Mary Oliver. She served for eight years on the board of PEN-New England and has been the Administrator of the PEN/Hemingway Award since 2003.